The FAA has issued what could be an expensive tail-boom inspection airworthiness directive for the more than 100 Eurocopter EC130B4s in service in the U.S., most of them with air-tour operators. The AD mandates inspections for cracks in the region where the tail boom meets the fenestron assembly. If cracks are found the boom must be replaced at an estimated cost of $64,250 per helicopter.
Eurocopter unveiled the EC130 T2, the updated version of its single-engine EC130 at Heli-Expo yesterday, and announced orders for 105 of the aircraft from seven launch customers. They include: Maverick Helicopters, Papillon Helicopters, Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, Scandinavian Helicopter Group, Air Commander, Europavia and Enloe FlightCare.
At a Sunday morning press event, Turbomeca chairman and CEO Olivier Andriès listed the French turbine engine manufacturer’s 2011 successes, including a recovery in production numbers from the 2010 low of 800. Turbomeca delivered 950 turboshaft engines last year, and expects to produce approximately 1,100 before the end of 2012.
At Heli-Expo today, Eurocopter unveiled the EC130 T2, an updated version of its venerable single-engine helicopter. It also announced orders for 105 of the new aircraft from seven launch customers: Maverick Helicopters, Papillon Helicopters, Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, Scandinavian Helicopter Group, Air Commander, Europavia and Enloe FlightCare. The EC130 T2 is powered by the Turbomeca Arriel 2D engine, which provides 10 percent more average power and lower specific fuel consumption than the original powerplant and has a higher time between overhaul interval.
A 1989 Eurocopter AS350B2 registered to Sundance Helicopters crashed December 7 during a twilight tour flight near Nevada’s Hoover Dam, killing all five aboard. The helicopter crashed the day after it was returned from maintenance for a 100-hour inspection and the replacement of its Turbomeca Arriel 1D1 engine, a main-rotor blade actuator and a tail-rotor actuator due to life-limit requirements.
Air Methods, a major global medical transportation company, recently announced that its United Rotorcraft division has been awarded a contract by OSF Aviation of Peoria, Ill., to complete OSF’s four new Eurocopter EC145s.
The medical interior design of the four EC145s will include several new features, including a next-generation, machined aluminum floor that will address previous problems of maintenance accessibility, re-configuration flexibility, fluid containment and ease of cleaning.
Eurocopter expects that its recently tested helicopter hybrid power concept will enter commercial service, soon perhaps as early as next year.
American Eurocopter built on its lead in the U.S. medevac market by announcing more than two dozen new helicopter sales this month at the Air Medical Transport Conference (AMTC) in St. Louis. The company announced the sale of 26 helicopters–10 singles and 16 twins–at the event. “This was a solid showing for our company,” said American Eurocopter president Marc Paganni.
Helicopter and business aircraft leasing firm Milestone Aviation announced at the Air Medical Transport Conference yesterday that it would purchase five new Eurocopter EC130B4 helicopters. The order is valued at $17 million, with deliveries slated for the second half of next year.
The FAA awarded an STC to Cobham for installation of its HeliSAS autopilot and stability augmentation system on Eurocopter’s AS350 and EC130. HeliSAS is designed for use in all phases of flight and automatically returns the helicopter to a near-level attitude when the pilot releases the controls. The system costs and weighs much less than traditional large military and commercial helicopter autopilot systems, according to Cobham.